Unternehmensplanspiele 1955-1975: Die Herstellung unternehmerischer Rationalität im Spiel

Dublin Core


Unternehmensplanspiele 1955-1975: Die Herstellung unternehmerischer Rationalität im Spiel

Alternative Title

Business Simulation Games 1955-1975: The Creation of Entrepreneurial Rationality in the Game


Rolf F. Nohr



Date Issued



Book (paperback)






Author is a longtime LGI member, as are Tobias Conradi, Tim Glaser, Kerstin Hoffmann, and Theo Rohle (all of whom are listed on the back of the book with the phrase "unter mitarbeit von"--with the cooperation of...). LGI--and Judd and Ken--are generously acknowledged at the back of the book. Thanks Rolf!

Notes: In this book, Nohr documents how business simulation games, developed as they were within the post-war military-industrial complex, quickly amassed a considerable amount of socio-technical capital—so much so, in fact, that organizations like Ford, RAND, IBM, Boeing, and many others began to transform their corporate structures and cultures so that they more closely resembled the simulations they’d designed. In a curious retrofit, the limitations of computer technologies at this time allowed only highly simplified business models to be ‘played’ by corporate executives and high-ranking military officers.

Translation of the back of Rolf's book: Rolf F. Nohr with the collaboration of Tobias Conradi, Tim Glaser, Kerstin Hoffmann and Theo Rahle. The business simulation game emerged after the Second World War in the course of extensive social change.  Post-war companies were faced with globalization, increasingly complex management tasks and changing terms of control and planning.  At the intersection of corporate management, human resource management and scientific economic logic and rationality, the business simulation materializes a training tool that should create a new type of management: the professional manager.  In the serious games of the 1950s, action control, knowledge acquisition and further training were played. At the same time, the management simulations also »adjusted the working subjects into a new medium - the computer.  From the circulating wish constellations about the electronic brains, the fantasy of a control rationality emerged, in which the decision was to be transformed into a calculable and simulable algorithm.  This book reconstructs the business cycle and popularity of the business simulation game in the 1950s to 1970s in the Federal Republic and the USA.  It traces the contexts of the introduction of the business game: from the serious games to teaching machines to the logic of operations research and mathematical game theory.  It combines the business game with the emerging consulting culture and classifies it into the simulation logic that is emerging at the same time.  The methodological connection of discourse analysis, media and company history approaches to a material-oriented history of the business simulation game opens new insights into the function of the game as a cultural technique of advanced industrial societies.  At the same time, the book derives approaches for understanding current constellations from historical upheavals and discourses: the dispositive of gamification. 




Rolf F. Nohr, “Unternehmensplanspiele 1955-1975: Die Herstellung unternehmerischer Rationalität im Spiel,” Learning Games Initiative Research Archive (LGIRA), accessed August 14, 2020, http://lgira.mesmernet.org/items/show/8926.


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